Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MommyBee Designs

Ever since I was pregnant with AJ, I've been horrified quite frequently as I perused the offerings in many children's clothing stores.  Bibs that said "Brat," shirts that said "Diva," items that proclaimed loud and proud how the CHILD was the one in charge!  This glorification of poor and disrespectful behavior in children is something that has long troubled (and at times sickened) me.  For the past several years, I've been saying how someone needs to create a clothing line that glorifies GOOD behavior, RESPECTFUL behavior, APPROPRIATE behavior in children.

After no one took my idea and ran with it, I finally came up with some designs myself.  Thanks to the internetz, creating, selling, and distributing custom clothing is easy!  Because of all of that, MommyBee Designs is now open for business both at CafePress and at Zazzle.  The shirt designs are the same in both places, but the colors, sizes, shirt types, and prices vary a little between the two.

Our "Learning to bee" line glorifies things like "Learning to bee obedient" or "Learning to bee respectful."  Each shirt includes an applicable Bible verse.

In the "Other" category are designs like "Unexpected Blessing," and "My PARENTS are the BOSS of me!"  (Also with applicable Scriptures included.)

I'd love it if you'd share this, buy a few, post about this someplace, buy a few, tell a few friends about it, and perhaps buy a few.

If you're someone big in the blogging world and would like to offer a giveaway of some sort, I'm VERY happy to oblige!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Addressing Assumptions

So I recently emailed a question to "SimpleMom" Tsh Oxenreider which has generated a lot of awesome discussion on her site.  You're welcome to chime in with your thoughts here, but it'd be more useful to more people over there.  The gist of the question is "do I give a food pantry items that I wouldn't feed to my own family?"

In reading through the comments though, it amused me the assumptions people made about me (to some extent...on the very rare occasion, people were just mean).  I didn't feel the need to respond to each comment, but if anyone cares enough to have come over here to check out who this "Melissa" person is, I wanted to clear a few things up.

First off, my children are definitely _not_ "bubble" children.  We try (as the budget allows) to eat organic, but mostly I try to just cook from scratch with whole ingredients.  It didn't even occur to me when I posed the question that it would veer off (for some) into 'Melissa must be an all-organic, all fair-trade, all free-range, all hormone-free helicopter parent' kind of thing.  Right now our priorities are whole grains (except even I can't stomach whole-grain pasta most of the time), and minimization of food dyes, artificial sweeteners, MSG, and less so things like nitrites (nitrates?) and other preservatives.  After that comes a preference for organic.  Only after that would come fair trade/free range (sadly...I understand the issues there to a limited extent, we're just not quite there in our baby steps to becoming better stewards, etc.).  That's just where we are in our process.  Someday I'd love to be all of those things (except a helicopter parent), but we're far from there.

Secondly, it really amused me the number of times it was mentioned that I have clearly never experienced poverty for myself if this is my question.  That amuses me immensely because I _HAVE_ experienced poverty, not personally, but I've definitely seen it for myself, first-hand (and not even as a visitor - I lived there for over a year) - just not necessarily in America.  The poverty (not starvation, mind you, just poverty) that I've seen has been in developing countries and war-ravaged countries.  I think poverty looks VERY different here than it does in places like Iraq and Nigeria.  And that was/is a large part of my dilemma.

In Iraq, I could absolutely have given a sack of rice with no worries to a poor person.  They would have known exactly what to do with it and would have appreciated it immensely.  In America, those in poverty don't necessarily _want_ plain rice (or any other random shelf-stable ingredient).  They want Hamburger Helper and boxed rice with other stuff that can be microwaved easily.  They want pop-top cans.

We send a 5-gallon bucket of pasta, rice, peanut butter, flour, and oil to Haiti and a family can eat for a month.  I have those same ingredients in my pantry and my babysitters' mom worries that we can't afford groceries because my cupboards are "bare."

I absolutely don't understand poverty in America.  I've never truly experienced it first-hand, and what I imagine I would want were my family in that situation are NOT the things that are listed as "needs" for the crisis food pantry at my church.  Maybe because their emphasis is on homeless rather than just poor?  I don't know.

If this question had easy answers, I would have figured it out for myself!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pulling Weeds

So I often have "mommy guilt" over the fact that it seems like all I ever do is correct my children.  When I'm not correcting, I'm mostly moralizing (as in, someone (on TV, in a book, in real life, etc.) does something and so we discuss how that action was foolish or unkind or whatever...or the flip side - what they did was very kind, generous, wise, etc.).  Sometimes it's little things ("AJ, get your finger out of your nose.").  Sometimes it's not ("Joanna, stop eating Styrofoam/rocks/sticks/mulch/barrettes").  But it's a constant part of my day.  I feel like the other moms aren't constantly correcting their kids and I worry that I'm too hard on mine.

Today, while Lucy was sleeping and the bigger two were playing in the pool, I was working on this plant that is infesting our yard.  We have no idea what it is.  It is growing _through_ one of our trees (as in parasitically pretending to be branches on this tree - growing up between bark and trunk or in between rings) in addition to popping up EVERYWHERE in our yard.  It has a woody root and is VERY fast-growing, but the branches are more like a flower or tomato plant (non-woody and slightly furry).  If you happen to know what it is, feel free to let me know, but I'll warn you in advance about doing a Google search for anything that includes the words "weed" and "growing."

Not that I've done that. there are plenty of blogs out there that can and will take every experience and relate it to God somehow.  It's amazing sometimes, mostly because I doubt that the folks who write those blogs would speak that way normally, and since my writing style is very much conversational, I feel rather fake following suit.  That tends to lead me to assume that _they're_ being fake, but that's my own issue to deal with, not theirs. this story isn't like that.  I'm not telling you that _your_ life is like my lawn.  No.  This story isn't about you, it's about me.  And that's what makes it ok somehow for me to tell.  You see, as I was digging these plants out, getting as much of the root as I could in each instance (working with a broken shovel, which adds a whole new level to this metaphor), I really felt like God was telling me that this was my work - to root out those character flaws that are inherent to my children and to teach them the right way to go (morally, socially, fiscally, etc.).  It's a seemingly endless task of hard, hot, backbreaking work (especially given the broken tool that I have to work with (that would be myself in the metaphor)).  Every time it seems like I've gotten an area clear, I look up and see dozens more sprouting up.  Sometimes I almost miss one because it's hiding in the grass.  Sometimes the lawn gets mowed and it looks like they're gone for a while.  Sometimes the roots go straight down.  Sometimes they fan out just a few inches below the surface.  Sometimes the smallest plants come from the biggest roots and sometimes the biggest plants come from the smallest roots.

But just like I could never eradicate the weeds if I stopped weeding, I'll never "train up my children" without the correction.  And if I were to stop, even just for a time, those weeds would make WAY more headway than if I just battle them constantly and consistently.

So I'm letting go of that bit of "mommy guilt" today.  It may get tiring, but at least one of my jobs right now is to root out all those weeds just as soon as their ugly heads pop up in the little garden that we've been given.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mother Knows Best

So my mom was visiting the other day when the kids and I found this HUGE dead beetle in the driveway (insert inappropriate John Lennon joke here). only seemed natural to me to run over to my mom and ask what kind of beetle it was (not "do you know..." but simply "what kind...").  Her deadpan response was, "There are more species of beetle on the Earth than all other creatures combined.  I don't know all of them."

So I guess you never really get over expecting your parents to know everything.  REALLY scary that my kids will think the same of me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Testing, testing, one, two, three... Is this thing on?

So my last post was in November of 2010.  It's now July of 2011.  Been awhile.  Might be awhile again before another post comes up.  There's just too much of life to live.

But I did want to point out one thing.  From the inception of this blog until now (really my most recent birthday which was three weeks ago, I just didn't get around to fixing things here until today because did I mention that I haven't posted since November?), I've gone by the name "Leia."  This was for reasons of security due to my location at the beginning, then for privacy later on.  But there's just something about a 35-yr-old woman, married, with three kids calling herself "Princess Leia" that's just odd.

And it's not that I mind being odd....but it's really just time.  So I decided that I would "come out" on my birthday.  If there's still anyone out there with me on a feed-reader (or who is still inexplicably manually checking for updates) who didn't already know it, my actual name is Melissa.  VNB's actual name is Ryan (and he's still my "Very Nice Beloved").  AJ's actual name is AJ.  Joanna's actual name is Joanna (see...I'm sneaky like that).  Oh, and I had a baby in March.  Her actual name is Lucy.  We also have a cat whose actual name is Monkey.  That's only been mildly confusing to the children, to my great surprise.

Does this mean I'm going to begin posting regularly again?  Doubtful.  Please don't lay guilt-trips on me to do so if we're related by blood or marriage (or even if we're not, I've just mostly gotten the pressure from relatives).  That's seriously counter-productive with me.  The more you pressure, the less I want to write.  And no, it's not Facebook that's "killed" my blog.  I don't post there much either.  As I said earlier, there's just too much life to live to stop and write about it all.

Mostly I just wanted to make note of the change and explain why it's occurred.  Back to living life!